You should look for quality of service, good communications from the inspector, and compliance with the Standards of Practice (SOPs) of your state.
Quality oF Service
A quality home inspector is one who
- Returns your call in a timely manner.
- Is polite and friendly
- Sounds as though he’s eager to provide you his services
- Asks quality questions about the home before giving the price (and listens to/remembers your answer)
- Delivers the report the same day as the inspection
Good communications is more than simply conveying information. A quality home inspector:
- Can interpret their findings and convey them in language you can understand.
- Is objective. He/she will refrain from providing opinions. For example, a home inspector’s opinion of one brand of furnace being superior to another won’t get the seller to install a new furnace before closing no matter how strong that opinion is.
- Encourages the client to attend the inspection. You’re paying well over $100 per hour for their services. If you want to attend the inspection and ask questions, nothing should prevent that.
- Will make solid recommendations regarding their findings to either repair, replace, monitor, or have a defective system or component reevaluated.
If licensing is required in your state, then there will be a set of standards every licensed home inspector is required to meet at a minimum on every home inspection (Click here to find your state’s licensing authority and SOPs). Good due diligence on the part of the home buyer would be to familiarize themselves with the SOPs for their state and compare them to the home inspection report they receive.
In states where licensing is not required, try to find a home inspector who is a member of a legitimate association like ASHI or InterNACHI who requires home inspectors to follow a specific SOP similar to licensing state agencies. Members who don’t meet the minimum standards could lose their membership and with it, credibility.
Without a documented standard to follow, quality of the home inspection is left to the whim of the inspector and the home buyer is left with little recourse should important deficiencies be overlooked.
There are no guarantees, but we can take precautions. Knowledge and information are powerful tools to assess the quality of the home inspection you received. Don’t leave anything to chance when making what’s likely to be the biggest investment of your life. Have your state’s SOPs handy, ask a lot of questions when shopping for a home inspector, and call HI-TEC if you have any questions – it’s free! We’re glad to help.